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of july 8, 1998, an oil and gas platform off the coast of scotland was a scene of a dramatic disaster. suddenly burst into flames because of a massive gas leak on board. as the alfa exploded and burned in the ocean, hundreds of crew members on the rig were thrust into a fight for their lives. for hours giant fire balls engulfed the rig, feeding the flames. then on july 8, 1988, this day, the massive loss of life resulting from the disaster started to become evident. >> rescue workers in the north sea say they have given up any hope of finding anymore of the 149 men still missing in the oil rig fire there. 17 men are confirmed dead. >> one survivor called it a big bang, turned the huge platform into an inferno. the platform split in two, most workers were in sleep, trapped in their bedrooms. >> after the piper alpha exploded, rescue vessels arrived on scene to put out the flames. even though the rescue vessels were experiencing difficulties. then there was the main firefighting vessel, the one you see here, it was crippled by its own bad design. its rescue bridge and firefighting syste
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